Welcome and Review of Agenda
Board of Publications Chairperson, Penny Reeder, called the September 5, 2023, meeting to order at 8:30 p.m. ET. The published agenda was read and adjusted to include the subject of Mastodon to occur after the Editor’s Report.
Board members present: Penny Reeder, Cheryl Cumings, Cachet Wells, Zelda Gebhard and Jeff Bishop. Ex Officio members present: Sharon Lovering, ACB Braille Forum Editor; Rick Morin, ACB Media and IT Manager; Katie Frederick, Member Lead on ACB Public Awareness Steering Committee; Deb Cook Lewis, ACB President, also Dan Spoone, ACB’s Interim Executive Director.
Approval of Minutes
Penny thanked Cachet for taking the August minutes and announced that Zelda has agreed to take them in the future. Following a motion from Cachet and a second from Zelda, minutes from the August 2023 BOP meeting were approved without additions or corrections.
Public’s Point of View
Jane Perry expressed her thanks for following her previous suggestion to post the notice of the monthly BOP meeting on the ACB Community Schedule. She asked who can submit an article to the Braille Forum and when it must be submitted. Penny explained that anyone may submit an article to our editor at [email protected] and the publication deadline is six weeks prior to publication. Jane also noted that the list at the end of the ACB Braille Forum of those serving on the ACB Board of and the ACB Board of Publications does not currently contain contact information. Penny shared that this was due to privacy concerns and that should a member want to contact any of the leaders, they should contact the ACB office. Jane said she enjoys ACB LINK and ACB Media and requested that Rick and the team develop a schedule of programming. Rick replied that since the convention podcasts were completed a month earlier than expected, they plan to use that time to focus on several things, one of which includes the calendar.
Editor’s Report, September 2023
Sharon submitted the following report in advance of the meeting.
Issue type: electronic
Email distributed: 5,362.
Issue type: hard copy
Page count: 48
Braille distributed: 497.
Cartridge distributed: TBA.
Large print distributed: 2,114.
Email distributed: 5,364.
Issue type: electronic
Email to be distributed: TBA.
Deadlines for the Next Issues
November (hard copy): Audio Description Project; deadline: September 25, 2023
December (electronic): International Relations Committee; deadline: October 24, 2023
January 2024 (hard copy): braille/reflections on 2023/goal setting for the new year; deadline: November 20, 2023
February 2024 (electronic): accessible voting, civil rights, and black history; deadline: December 22, 2023
If your affiliate or committee would like to stake a claim on one of 2024’s issues, please contact me via email, [email protected].
September’s Table of Contents
President’s Message: Our Convention Is Really Back, by Deb Cook Lewis
Capitol Capsules: Update on Accessible Currency, by Dan Spoone
2023 Convention Elects New Officers, Board and BOP Members, and More, by Sharon Lovering, Penny Reeder, Katie Frederick, Cachet Wells, and Cheryl Cumings
2023 Conference and Convention Wrap-Up, by Janet Dickelman
Introducing the 2023 DKM First-Timers and JPMorgan Chase Leadership Fellows, by Kenneth Semien Sr.
Congratulations to the 2023 Scholarship Winners!, by Denise Colley
A Convention That Soared to New Heights, by Anthony Corona
Applause to Prose and Poetry, by Annie Chiappetta, FIA President
Let’s Get Ready for the Holiday Auction!, by Leslie Spoone
Nationwide Credit Reporting Agencies and the American Council of the Blind Announce Updated Initiative to Provide Accessible Credit Reports
Making My Own Luck, by Deborah Armstrong
How to Meet the Growing Challenge of an Increasing Population of Older Americans with Vision Loss, by Larry Johnson
My Unexpected Mentee, by Melody Holloway
Ski for Light Hunts for the Hodag in Rhinelander, by Melinda Hollands
Here and There, edited by Cynthia G. Hawkins
October’s Table of Contents
President’s Message: Volunteering Your Way to Employment, by Deb Cook Lewis
Convention 2024: Traveling to Jacksonville, by Janet Dickelman
Summary of the June 30, 2023 ACB Board Meeting, by Penny Reeder
ACB Membership Seminar: Benefits of Partnerships for Membership Growth, compiled by Ardis Bazyn
A Call to Action: White Cane Day, by Anthony Corona
APH ConnectCenter Provides Information on Employment — And a Whole Lot More, by Lori Scharff
Reasonable Accommodation and Assistance Dogs in the Workplace, by Ed and Toni Eames
Olegario D. Cantos VII, A Man for All the People, by Charles D. Nabarrete
United Becomes First U.S. Airline to Add Braille to Aircraft Cabin Interiors
In Memoriam: Dr. Ronald Earl Milliman
Readers’ Memories of Dr. Ronald E. Milliman
Here and There, edited by Cynthia G. Hawkins
High Tech Swap Shop
I continue to work with the communications team, the credentials committee, the board of publications and the awards committee.
I continue to put together the Dots and Dashes newsletter. The most recent one went out August 28th. The next one will go out on September 11th.
After convention, I worked on cleaning up the resolutions, formatting them, putting them on letterhead, and putting the annual resolutions compendium together. It went live this week. I will work on updating the resolutions index in the next few weeks.
I’m still working with the archives/history committee on preserving and digitizing old recordings and documents from ACB events and identifying people in photos. Part of that work includes cleaning up and modernizing old issues of the Forum to current large print standards and organizing them on our SharePoint drive. I make the Word version first, then the text and braille-ready files. I have finished 1982 through 1987 and am working on 1988. As with the 1984s, this is proving more difficult due to the binding.
I continue to record the Washington Connection, and some of the other boxes on our phone system, such as the national convention box, the scholarship information, and the state convention box. I updated the Washington Connection on August 16th with information about comments requested for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ long-term support services, and the 12 new conditions added to SSA’s compassionate allowance.
Sharon Lovering, Editor
The primary subject matter for November is the Audio Description Project and quite an extensive list of articles has been received. In addition to that there is a memorial piece for Oral Miller and a bunch of readers’ memories and photos she would like to include. She proposed that both the November and December issues be 64 pages long. There was no opposition. Dan asked if Sharon anticipated that this would cause any problems with our vendors. Sharon assured us that all three vendors will be notified, and she does not foresee a problem with the additional pages.
Penny acknowledged that ACB has had a social media presence for the past 10 years with Facebook and Twitter (now X). Mastodon has gained popularity in the blindness community and was discussed briefly during our August meeting, Penny brought forth the topic and invited any guests present for their comments.
Renee Zelickson is seeking information about Mastodon.
Jeff affirmed that Mastodon is a social media platform and has been the subject of lively discussion on ACB Conversation email list. There is some question of whether it is under the purview of the BOP. He feels that we need to be where sighted people as well as blind people are. He is not suggesting that we eliminate Twitter or X from our social media. We are a consumer organization driven by members. To address the comment that the tools we are currently using don’t allow us to post easily on Mastodon, he offered the following two solutions: to promote Mastodon in the same way we promoted Twitter when we first began posting to that platform when it was unfamiliar to most of our members, and the possible use of Hootsuite or Buffer which is completely accessible. Buffer provides a 50% discount to nonprofits, and it is relatively cheap.
Deb stated that ACB is not opposed to doing Mastodon and recognizes the value of doing that. We currently do not have or use the tools that support Mastodon. We expect to develop and implement a plan for the communications staffing. When the process and staffing are in place, it may be feasible to switch providers. We do expect to do this in an organized and timely fashion, managed by staff, managed along with the other social media requirements that have been established over time. A decision will be made by the ACB Board of Directors with the recommendation of the IT working group. The BOP will be responsible for overseeing content and policies.
Dan said that ACB has suffered a huge loss of staff with the loss of Jennifer Flatt, Tony Stephens, and most recently Kelly Gasque. We are looking to find a contractor to keep our existing social media afloat while the ADP Gala is just two months away. At this time, we are not looking to add new social media. We are here to serve our members and our board, but we are looking to make a good investment in tools and in staff with the resources available.
Michael Babcock acknowledged the difficulty with the current staffing shortage and the challenges in trying to make everyone happy. He feels it is worthwhile for ACB to look at Mastodon and believes there are a number of knowledgeable people in ACB who know how to use Mastodon who would volunteer to get ACB on the platform. He is willing to help affiliates set up their own presence on Mastodon. He asked for clarification if he could use ACB when setting up Mastodon for the affiliates. He was informed that only ACB can create an official ACB Mastodon account.
Penny said that the BOP is supportive of ACB establishing a presence on Mastodon and that she hopes the BOP can assist with training members on using Mastodon. She thanked the members for coming to the BOP with this issue of importance to them.
Zelda recommended that as we contemplate adding Mastodon as a communication tool that we keep in mind with whom we are desiring to communicate and whether that communication is internal or external.
Braille Forum Themes
We were reminded that themes do not take up the whole issue. There is room for other articles as well.
November – Audio Description and Thanksgiving
December – International Relations Committee
January – Looking Forward and Back and Louis Braille
February – 2024 Election Year and Voting, Black History Month and Civil Rights
March – ACB Women with International Women’s History Month
April – Multicultural Affairs Committee
ACB Voices Blog
Member on the Mic – Katie reported Jamica Miller will be posted tonight. The next interview will be Cecily Nipper.
Denise Colley is very excited about Anthony doing the Scholarship Spotlight interviews. We had talked about working with Kelly about sharing those blogs with their college and hometown papers. Now, we are unsure of who will be helping with that.
Cachet brought up the need for a solidified process and expansion of a team that will be able to sustain the Member on the Mic long term. The team currently consists of Anthony Corona, Tim Cumings, and Lisa Brooks. She is concerned about taking on the Scholarship Spotlight in addition to Member on the Mic which doubles the workload.
Cheryl will reach out to set up a meeting with Anthony and Cachet to go over the MOM process and timeline.
Katie suggested that we post the student interviews under the Member on the Mic with a Scholarship tag. Penny thanked Katie for all her help with the ACB Voices Blog.
ACB Voices Blog Editors:
September – Cachet lead, Penny second.
October - Zelda lead, Cheryl second.
The subject of the editor’s gathering on Friday, September 15 will be posting their affiliate newsletters on NFB Newsline.
Katie will schedule/host the meeting and share her NFB Newsline experiences with the Ohio newsletter. Deb offered to be backup for future Editor’s Gatherings when needed.
Penny will attend and share the opportunity of affiliate editors sharing an article from their newsletters or a link to their podcast on the ACB Voices Blog.
ACB Annual Budget Request
In response to the 2022 resolution about making all 12 issues of the ACB Braille Forum hard copy braille and large print, the BOP will look at feasible options. Resources were not available to do this in 2023. We will explore ways we can honor this request such as reducing the page count or reducing the number of yearly issues from 12 to 8, 10 or 11.
Penny asked if Sharon would share the prices with the board. Sharon reminded us that Nancy has set budget requests to be submitted by October 10. Penny suggested that we discuss possible options via our email list prior to our October 3rd meeting.
Deb reported that it seems that more issues with less pages may be most desirable by braille readers. It also appears some non-members are receiving hard copy issues. Perhaps a letter could be sent to those non-members, and they would either renew or be dropped from the list.
Rick reported the podcasts from convention have been completed. 149 podcasts were generated for 208 hours of listening pleasure or eight 24-hour days plus 16 hours. They are on 17 podcast feeds. A directory was created to help people find the podcasts they are seeking. There have been 17,512 listens or downloads over the past two months.
He is also involved in analyzing the Convention Survey results.
Public Awareness Steering Committee
Deb announced that Katie’s role will be the member lead on the Public Awareness Steering Committee and ex officio member of the BOP.
Cheryl moved to adjourn the meeting, Zelda seconded the motion, meeting adjourned at 9:57 p.m.
Zelda Gebhard, Member
ACB Board of Publications